Syrian insurgents take control of town in west – monitor
A fighter from the Free Syrian Army's Al Rahman legion carries a weapon as he walks towards his position on the front line against the forces of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad in Jobar, a suburb of Damascus, Syria, in this July 27, 2015 file photo. Only four or five U.S.-trained Syrian rebels were still fighting in Syria, a top general told Congress on September 16, 2015, a stark admission of setbacks to a fledgling military program that critics have already pronounced a failure. REUTERS/Bassam Khabieh/Files

BEIRUT: Syrian insurgents took control of most of a town on a major highway in the west of the country after heavy battles with pro-government militias, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Thursday.

Islamist insurgents from the Jund al-Aqsa group, backed by other fighters, seized large parts of Morek town in Hama province. The town sits north of Hama city on the north-south highway running through Syria’s major cities in the mainly government-held west.

The capture comes after months of fighting between the insurgents and fighters from the National Defence Force and other militia, said the Observatory, which tracks the conflict using sources on the ground.

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